E-commerce is an industry in the throes of worldwide domination, and the perfect storm to give e-commerce a try.
In the age of coronavirus, it has become the preferred way to shop, having spent over a decade familiarizing people with the concepts of user-friendly stores, delayed payment options, and next day delivery.
Not everyone can find success in the industry. If you’re sitting at home looking for new ways to offset lost income or become your own boss, e-commerce can look like a tempting avenue. However, things are not as simple as they seem, and you need to ask yourself whether now is a good time to give e-commerce a try.
A few considerations
Before we can establish whether or not now is the right time to take the plunge into the world of e-commerce, there are a few considerations you need to make about your current position and suitability for opening your own store.
Do you have the time?
Time is crucial when it comes to e-commerce.
How much time you can dedicate to your store is often what makes it either a glowing success or a complete failure.
If you don’t have the time to constantly improve your store you’ll fall behind to more reactive competitors. If you aren’t getting orders out the door at the expected time then the whole structure of your business will fall apart.
People don’t just like e-commerce because it’s convenient, but because it’s fast.
If you don’t have the time to make sure your operations are quick, including everything from answering customer service queries to scheduling returns to physically shipping orders, then consumers will start to question the quality of your service entirely.
When looking to use e-commerce as an avenue to sell personal, handmade products, you need to be ready to fully commit yourself to create them.
If you’re hoping to get the type of demand that will keep the lights on then starting a store means ramping up operations, not staying at the same level.
What can you sell?
There’s nothing more central to the success of an e-commerce store than its products.
Many people use e-commerce as an opportunity to get their creations out there, while others spot a gap in the market they can exploit or a trend ripe for jumping onto.
Running an e-commerce store doesn’t just demand knowledge of shipping and self-promotion, but a keen eye for emerging trends and the knowledge of what makes a product both unique and appealing.
Being able to spot what makes a great gift that will peak during the holiday season is a completely different skill than noticing what cheap products may be hot during summer.
This is not a skill you should take for granted. Take some time to research what other stores do well and figure out current emerging trends (Google Trends is a brilliant tool for this) to get a better understanding of the landscape before charging headfirst into launching a store.
Set up your store
Let’s explore why now is a great time to hitch your wagon to the e-commerce trend, get a piece of one of the fastest-growing industries worldwide, and give e-commerce a try.
It’s never been easier to launch an e-commerce store and craft your virtual vision.
The advent of template website builders designed for potential store owners with a variety of experience levels has made building the store of your dreams achievable in just a few user-friendly steps.
There are cheaper options, and should someone not want the burden of running their own store they can start off selling through affiliate stores on major household-name brand websites such as Amazon or Etsy.
The development of e-commerce over the last two decades has led to a fountain of knowledge online.
There have never been more guides and courses available detailing how to get started in e-commerce and the intricacies of running a successful store.
When you’re ever unsure about what you’re doing, someone is bound to have written a personal blog about how not to repeat their mistakes.
The e-commerce and web store community is a passionate and helpful one too. They may compete with each other, but the number of community-built plugins to improve the usability and adaptability of template store builders shows the ever-growing nature of e-commerce.
If you want to do something truly unique and adventurous with your store, there’s never been a better time.
Amazon and Etsy aren’t the only recognizable platforms you can sell on
Launched directly in reaction to the number of businesses established or forced to move online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook and Instagram Shops allow businesses to integrate online stores into their social media pages and customize them to suit the brand’s aesthetic.
This doesn’t just offer another accessible method of launching a business and access to a wide, enthusiastic audience, Shops further streamline the e-commerce shopping experience into just a few clicks using data stored on other Facebook ads.
While Shops could be seen as direct competition to the concept of e-commerce, for many budding store owners it offers a unique avenue to experiment with the model.
Preference for online shopping
Coronavirus has only confirmed what retailers on both sides of the bricks and mortar vs digital shopping debate already knew, that e-commerce is the prevailing form of shopping that will carry us throughout the decade, at least.
The high street is dead, and people have a preference for the speed and variety that e-commerce offers. If you’ve got a great product or unique selling point you think could take off, e-commerce is the place to do it.
The industry is only set to grow and grow, so much so it could soon crown the world’s first trillionaire. Ecommerce presents the best avenue for young creatives and entrepreneurs to showcase their skills and creations to the world, and be paid handsomely for it.
In retail, you need to follow the customer and bow to their preferences. Right now that’s being able to order whatever they want from the comfort of their home and have it arrive at their door before they know it. All the more reason to give e-commerce a try now!
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About the author:
Kayleigh Alexandra enjoys writing about entrepreneurial tips and hacks for Micro Startups, give them a follow on Twitter @getmicrostarted